Monday, April 17, 2006

Barbès market

Shoulder to shoulder moshpit-style madness! This is maybe the closest one can get to a market experience of, say, Morrocco in terms of energy and crowdedness (not so much so in terms of unfamiliar products). Basically a squirming sea of bodies, and many dozens of vegetable-stall dudes incessantly bellowing things like "TOMATOES!! ONE EURO A KILO!! GET YER TOMATOES RIGHT HERE!!" or many times just a drone of "one-euro-one-euro-one-euro-basket-of-straaawberrieeeeeees...".
As we were leaving, we passed by a cafe on the street at which there was a woman in one window stretching out dough on an oiled prep table, filling it with some kind of cheese, and then grilling the large oblongs on a small electric griddle behind her. In the other window was a burly guy who had a similar makeshift setup, with maybe a square foot or so of prep space and then a battered wok in which he was deep frying 5 inch square turnovers whose dough was not unlike phyllo. Faced with the dilemma of choosing between the lady's and the guy's respective dough things, I did the obvious and went with the deep fried option. It was delicious! Delicately crispy, greasy but not too much, it appeared to be filled with mashed potatoes, chopped green olives, egg, some kind of minced meat, and a gooey center of what seemed like sour cream. But what was it? [Edit: I have since been been told it was the Algerian fried delight known as "brik" (frequently known also as "brick"). The pastry wrapping is similiar, as I said, to phyllo, however even more delicate-- and thus crispier when fried... which is the point!]

No comments: